SCHULTZ at COMPUSERVE.COM
Fri Oct 18 17:14:50 UTC 2002
Jesse Sheidlower asks about subject-verb agreement:
>> The sentence was, "The stories the press tell are shaped not by a
>> 'liberal agenda' or a 'right wing conspiracy' but by..." This sentence
>> was objected to on the grounds that _press_ is singular and thus it
>> should read, "The stories the press tells are shaped..."
>> This objection seems to be correct.
>> However, the original, "The stories the press tell are shaped..." is
>> _not_ jarring to me... Certainly one would never write, "The stories
>> Smith tell are shaped..." ... I'm thinking that it might be the
>> influence of the -s ending of _press,_ which, though not a plural
>> ending, might suggest plurality enough that "The stories the press
>> are shaped..." doesn't seem obviously wrong.
>> Any thoughts?
I think you're mentally substituting the word *media*, a plural noun that
is often used in such constructions rather than "press" and that *would*
require "tell." The word *media* is--rightly--used these days to refer to
those disseminating the news, since "press" suggests strictly print.
(Smarter PR people have long used "news release" rather than "press
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